Astrogeology Science Center

Dawn Spacecraft Contribution and Fate

30 October 2017

Halloween day prompts a chilling question: If you were a spacecraft, which fate would you prefer? Would you choose to remain in a stable orbit forever around Ceres or would you prefer to crash into Saturn and burn? The Cassini spacecraft crashed into Saturn and was engulfed in flames in… Read More

Sols 1852-1853: Feeding SAM some sand

20 October 2017

MSL drove over 20 meters on Sol 1850, to an area with lots of bedrock exposed.  We had several nice targets to choose from, but were limited in what we could plan because we want to prepare for a SAM evolved gas analysis (EGA) of sand from "Ogunquit Beach," which requires significant… Read More

Sols 1848-1849: How far we’ve come

16 October 2017

Today felt like any other planning day: a straightforward plan involving remote sensing, a drive, post-drive imaging, and some untargeted observations on the second sol.  Just a typical day in the office.  Maybe even an easy one.  It wasn’t until I sat down to write this blog… Read More

Rare Photos by Early NASA Astronauts for Sale

16 October 2017

Did you know famous NASA photographs captured by astronauts are objets d’art these days and are auctioned and sold for a considerable price tag? Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers in Marlborough, Massachusetts will allow people to leave bids online starting later this week. The live auction… Read More

Astro Making a Difference in STEM Education

6 October 2017

USGS Astrogeology Science Center is on board for the development of STEM curricula for middle and elementary school students to facilitate interest in learning about planetary science, technology and engineering. In 2015, NASA funded the Planetary Learning that Advances the Nexus of Engineering,… Read More

Sol 1822: Onward and upward!

20 September 2017

On Sol 1821, Curiosity successfully completed contact science activities at “Pennessewassee” and “Passadumkeag.”  Perhaps in an effort to get to more easily pronounceable rock targets, today’s tactical team planned a nice long drive towards our next waypoint on… Read More

Sols 1818-1819: Brushfest

15 September 2017

We are planning only 2 sols today because there will be a soliday on Sunday to get us back in sync with "Mars time" in Gale Crater.  The focus of science planning this morning was on observations of the current workspace, including an experiment to acquire APXS and MAHLI data on a bedrock… Read More

Bittersweet Departure of Cassini Tomorrow

14 September 2017

USGS Scientist Emeritus Randy Kirk reminisces about the Cassini spacecraft’s journey and discusses the end of the twenty-year mission in a KNAU interview.  Artist Rendition of Cassini diving between Saturn and its innermost ring as part of the Grand Finale. Image Credit: NASA

NASA’s Verdict: Say Your Goodbyes to Cassini

11 September 2017

On September 15, 2017, the Cassini spacecraft will be put to death. Scientists preplanned the spacecraft to crash into Saturn and Cassini will disintegrate in a burst of searing flame. Sadly, this will end its phenomenal journey of the exploration of the Saturn system. The demise of Cassini… Read More

The Science of Dunes: Where to Get Involved!

8 September 2017

During this past May, many of the world’s leading dune authorities met in St. George, Utah to attend the Fifth International Planetary Dunes Workshop. If you weren’t there--then you missed out on some fun. Scientists and students meet at this biannual workshop to engage in… Read More